Aristocrat Leisure has unveiled its NFL Super Bowl Jackpots slot machine, the first product stemming from the company’s partnership with the NFL. The slots will land on casino floors in time for the start of the NFL season in September. Aristocrat struck its multi-year global licensing partnership with the NFL in 2021 and expects to launch a total of six slots, including Super Bowl Jackpots.
The Super Bowl Jackpots slot machine runs on Aristocrat’s new King Max cabinet. Before playing, players customize the game’s theme by selecting their favorite team. Aside from the NFL tie-in, the game’s most exciting feature is its million-dollar progressive jackpot.
The branding is audio-visual. Super Bowl Jackpots machines will include six stadium anthems playing during dramatic gameplay moments. Resort casinos are tourist destinations, so Aristocrat aims to please what it calls “displaced fans,” or fans playing outside the teams’ home cities. Additionally, Aristocrat believes that the NFL-themed slots will attract younger players, an increasingly important contingent in Las Vegas and across the US.
Aristocrat will unveil the remaining five NFL-branded slots over the rest of 2023 and into 2024. It has revealed their names in the meantime:
- Overtime Cash
- Super Bowl Link
- NFL Kickoff
- Winning Drive
- Rings of Victory
Aristocrat To Bring NFL Virtual Sports, Will Online Slots Follow?
Slot machines are just the beginning of Aristocrat’s partnership with the NFL. In March 2023, the company tapped its long-time partner Inspired Gaming to develop NFL-branded virtual sports games.
Virtual sports are online simulators based on real-world sports. These games resemble sports betting but operate differently. Virtual sports use real team data but determine the results of imaginary matches using a random number generator. That means they have a fixed return-to-player (RTP) and are more like casino games than true sports betting.
Virtual sports are currently limited to New Jersey online casinos and through Pennsylvania’s lottery. Meanwhile, Michigan and Oregon have approved the games through their lotteries, while Nevada has approved them through sportsbooks. All three states are yet to launch.
In Oct 2022, Aristocrat announced it would bring iconic slots like Buffalo, Miss Kitty, and Timberwolf online through its new division, Anaxi.
Depending on the success of the retail NFL slots, that may mean Aristocrat eventually looks to extend its partnership to encompass online slots. Anaxi has already signed deals with leading real money online casinos like BetMGM, Caesars, and FanDuel, so the distribution network for such a product is already in place.
Brand tie-ins can be a big money-maker for gambling companies. Recently, Light & Wonder announced it would bring Willy Wonka, Wizard of Oz, and other retail Warner products online. Perhaps the most famously successful branding deal is IGT’s exclusivity over the Wheel of Fortune brand, which has resulted in dozens of top-performing products.
Once a Fierce Gambling Opponent, NFL Looks To Cash In Now
NFL’s deal with Aristocrat shows how the league has gone from staunchly opposing gambling expansion to fully capitalizing on it.
The NFL was among the five leagues challenging New Jersey’s attempts to legalize sports betting. That battle culminated in 2018, with the Supreme Court striking down the federal law prohibiting that form of gambling. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell even penned a letter asking the court to reconsider the decision, saying it threatened to damage the league’s image and public confidence.
Those days are long gone. Now NFL has a team right across from the Las Vegas Strip and is looking to cash in.
The NFL has deals with casino operators as well as suppliers like Aristocrat. Those deals include ones with DraftKings, FanDuel, and Caesars Entertainment. Some reports suggest these deals could be worth as much as $1 billion over five years. The Super Bowl is the biggest single day for sports betting in the US each year while also generating a flurry of advertising from the likes of DraftKings.
That said, the league has also made contributions to responsible gaming. In 2021, for instance, the NFL spent $6.2 million on such an initiative in partnership with the National Council on Problem Gambling.